Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Regulating Coal Combustion Waste Disposal: Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides an overview of the current rulemaking for Coal combustion waste (CCW) and relevant background information that applies to that rulemaking. In particular, the report describes the nature of the waste itself and primary methods of managing it; discusses potential risks associated with its mismanagement, particularly as supported by new data EPA has gathered to support the proposed rulemaking; and provides an overview of EPA's current regulatory proposal.
Date: September 21, 2010
Creator: Luther, Linda
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Rare Earth Elements: The Global Supply Chain

Description: The concentration of production of rare earth elements (REEs) outside the United States raises the important issue of supply vulnerability. REEs are used for new energy technologies and national security applications. This report provides a discussion on the major issues and concerns of the global supply chain for rare earth elements, their major end uses, and legislative and other policy proposals that Congress may consider to improve the U.S. rare earth position.
Date: September 30, 2010
Creator: Humphries, Marc
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Biomass Feedstocks for Biopower: Background and Selected Issues

Description: The production of bioenergy - renewable energy derived from biomass - could potentially increase national energy security, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to rural economic growth. This report provides analyses of commonly discussed biomass feedstocks and their relative potential for power generation. Additional biopower issues - feedstock accessibility, the biomass power plant carbon-neutrality debate, and unintended consequences of legislative activities to promote bioenergy - are also discussed.
Date: October 6, 2010
Creator: Bracmort, Kelsi
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened concerns about the region's future. Issues such as Arctic sovereignty claims; commercial shipping through the Arctic; Arctic oil, gas, and mineral exploration; endangered Arctic species; and increased military operations in the Arctic could cause the region in coming years to become an arena of international cooperation, competition, or conflict. This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress, and refers readers to more in-depth CRS reports on specific Arctic-related issues.
Date: October 8, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): Overview and Issues

Description: This report focuses specifically on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). It describes the general nature of the biofuels RFS and its implementation, and outlines some of the emerging issues related to the sustainability of the continued growth in U.S. biofuels production needed to fulfill the expanding RFS mandate, as well as the emergence of potential unintended consequences of this rapid expansion. This report does not address the broader public policy issue of how best to support U.S. energy policy.
Date: October 14, 2010
Creator: Schnepf, Randy & Yacobucci, Brent D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): Overview and Issues

Description: This report focuses on the mandated minimum usage requirements - referred to as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) - whereby a minimum volume of biofuels is to be used in the national transportation fuel supply each year. It describes the general nature of the biofuels RFS and its implementation, and outlines some of the emerging issues related to the sustainability of the continued growth in U.S. biofuels production needed to fulfill the expanding RFS mandate, as well as the emergence of potential unintended consequences of this rapid expansion. This report does not address the broader public policy issue of how best to support U.S. energy policy.
Date: October 14, 2010
Creator: Schnepf, Randy & Yacobucci, Brent D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened concerns about the region's future. Issues such as Arctic sovereignty claims; commercial shipping through the Arctic; Arctic oil, gas, and mineral exploration; endangered Arctic species; and increased military operations in the Arctic could cause the region in coming years to become an arena of international cooperation, competition, or conflict. This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress, and refers readers to more in-depth CRS reports on specific Arctic-related issues.
Date: October 15, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Intermediate-Level Blends of Ethanol in Gasoline, and the Ethanol "Blend Wall"

Description: This report discusses the growing interest in the potential for ethanol to displace petroleum as a transportation fuel, as well as related issues, including current Clean Air Act (CAA) limitation on ethanol content in gasoline; the requests of ethanol producers for an increase of this limitation; and the effects the limitation has upon vehicle and engine warranties and the infrastructures of the automobile and fuel industries.
Date: October 18, 2010
Creator: Yacobucci, Brent D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Nuclear Energy Policy

Description: This report discusses nuclear energy issues currently facing Congress, such as federal incentives for new commercial reactors, radioactive waste management policy, research and development priorities, power plant safety and regulation, nuclear weapons proliferation, and security against terrorist attacks.
Date: October 21, 2010
Creator: Holt, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Biomass: Comparison of Definitions in Legislation Through the 111th Congress

Description: This report discusses the use of biomass as an energy feedstock, which is emerging as a potentially viable alternative to address U.S. energy security concerns, foreign oil dependence, rural economic development, and diminishing sources of conventional energy. Biomass (organic matter that can be converted into energy) may include food crops, crops for energy (e.g., switchgrass or prairie perennials), crop residues, wood waste and byproducts, and animal manure. This report discusses legislation regarding biomass, the evolving definition of biomass, and the positions of supporters and detractors of biomass as an alternative energy source.
Date: October 28, 2010
Creator: Bracmort, Kelsi & Gorte, Ross W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Federal Government's Role in Electric Transmission Facility Siting

Description: This report looks at the history of transmission siting and the reason behind the movement toward an increased federal role in siting decisions, explains the new federal role in transmission siting pursuant to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and discusses legal issues related to this and any potential future expansions of the federal role.
Date: October 28, 2010
Creator: Vann, Adam
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The U.S. Oil Refining Industry: Background in Changing Markets and Fuel Policies

Description: This report begins by looking at the current production capacity of the oil refineries operating in the United States, and the sources and changes in crude oil supply. It then examines the changing characteristics of petroleum and petroleum product markets and identifies the effects of these changes on the refining industry. The report concludes with discussion of the policy and regulatory factors that are likely to affect the structure and performance of the industry during the next decade.
Date: October 29, 2010
Creator: Andrews, Anthony & Pirog, Robert
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Winter Fuels Outlook 2010-2011

Description: This report discusses findings gleaned through the Energy Information Administration's (EIA) publication titled Short-Term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook (STEWFO) for the 2010-2011 winter heating season. STEWFO projects how much American consumers should expect to see heating expenditures rise during the 2010-2011 winter season. These findings take into account the currently slow economic growth, high unemployment numbers, and uncertainty regarding the federal funding of the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
Date: October 29, 2010
Creator: Pirog, Robert
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Surface Transportation Funding and Finance

Description: This report discusses changes in funding to the national surface transportation infrastructure, especially in light of the recession that began in 2007, which led to decreases in driving and fuel use. This report focuses on possible revenue sources for surface transportation infrastructure. It begins with a brief discussion of the problems associated with the trust fund financing system and then explores possible immediate and longer-term solutions to the financing problem.
Date: November 10, 2010
Creator: Fischer, John W; Kirk, Robert S. & Mallett, William J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Options for a Federal Renewable Electricity Standard

Description: This report discusses current ideas for a federal Renewable Electricity (or Energy) Standard (RES) and a broader Clean Energy Standard (CES). The goal of this report is to explore how such policies could potentially increase the amounts of renewable electricity generated in the United States, discussing other related public policy goals and rationales for renewable energy development, and the challenges/drawbacks of RES policy.
Date: November 12, 2010
Creator: Campbell, Richard J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The U.S. Oil Refining Industry: Background in Changing Markets and Fuel Policies

Description: This report begins by looking at the current production capacity of the oil refineries operating in the United States, and the sources and changes in crude oil supply. It then examines the changing characteristics of petroleum and petroleum product markets and identifies the effects of these changes on the refining industry. The report concludes with discussion of the policy and regulatory factors that are likely to affect the structure and performance of the industry during the next decade.
Date: November 22, 2010
Creator: Andrews, Anthony; Pirog, Robert & Sherlock, Molly F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Energy's Water Demand: Trends, Vulnerabilities, and Management

Description: The nation's energy choices embody many tradeoffs. Water use is one of those tradeoffs. The energy choices before Congress represent vastly different demands on domestic freshwater. The energy sector's water consumption is projected to rise 50% from 2005 to 2030. This rising water demand derives from both an increase in the amount of energy demanded and shifts to more water-intense energy sources and technologies. This report discusses this issue as well as related issues that may arise for the 112th Congress.
Date: November 24, 2010
Creator: Carter, Nicole T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

North Korea's 2009 Nuclear Test: Containment, Monitoring, Implications

Description: This report discusses the implications of North Korea's May 25, 2009, underground nuclear test, related issues such as the the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), containment of radioactive materials, and other concerns for Congress, such as improving nuclear monitoring capability.
Date: November 24, 2010
Creator: Medalia, Jonathan
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Cuba's Offshore Oil Development: Background and U.S. Policy Considerations

Description: This report first examines Cuba's oil sector, including current production and consumption levels. It then looks at Cuba's offshore development, including the Repsol project, other offshore projects involving state-owed foreign oil companies, and the outlook for Cuba's offshore oil production. The report then analyzes considerations for the United States raised by Cuba's offshore oil development, examining oil spill risks and environmental dangers if spilled oil reaches U.S. waters, the status of disaster coordination between the United States and Cuba, and potential approaches on the issue. The report then examines the debate over broader U.S. involvement in Cuba's offshore oil development, and touches on two outstanding boundary issues related to Cuba's offshore oil development. Finally, the report examines legislative initiatives that reflect two contrasting policy approaches toward Cuba's offshore oil development - one would authorize U.S. investment in the sector, and the other would not affect current prohibitions on U.S. firms' economic dealings with Cuba and would impose sanctions on foreign companies and individuals who support the development of Cuba's petroleum resources.
Date: November 29, 2010
Creator: Nerurkar, Neelesh
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.S. Fossil Fuel Resources: Terminology, Reporting, and Summary

Description: This report describes the characteristics of fossil fuels that make it necessary to use precise terminology, summarizes the major terms and their meanings, and provides a brief summary of the United States' endowment of fossil fuels and the relationship between the U.S. fossil fuel energy endowment and those of other nations.
Date: November 30, 2010
Creator: Whitney, Gene; Behrens, Carl E. & Glover, Carol
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department